The basic functions (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) are included in all calculators but some offer more advanced options such as square root or trigonomic functions.
Some calculators have the option to convert currency and can calculate mortgage payments.
Calendars (also known as PIM – Personal Information Manager) allow you to store information about events such as meetings or reminders (e.g. to remind you of someone’s birthday). Usually an alarm can be set to sound an alert.
Some devices offer the ability to synchronize the calendar with the one on your computer or your online clendar/task manager.
The mobile phone can alert you of events such as an incoming call or an incoming message in a number of ways. The two most popular ones are vibration and ringing.
While vibration is pretty much self-explanatory, the ringing alerts can be of several types depending on the mobile phone.
In the past mobile phones used to allow only monophonic tones to be set as ringing alerts. With the advancement of technology, polyphonic ringtones also became supported.
Later on as mobile phones further evolved, they started using MP3 tones for various alert purposes. As more (presumably superior) audio formats became available (such as AAC), they were also added to the mobile phones’ alert system.
Recently, mobile phones have even started to use short video clips as call alerts (not to be confused with video calls).
No matter what kind of ringing tones the mobile phone uses, users have always enjoyedcustomizing their ringtones by expanding the preset ones supplied by the manufacturer.
Services offered by the wireless service provider as a package. These usually include activation, monthly charges, per-minute voice call charges, roaming terms, voicemail, data, and international roaming.
Some phones feature a camera that gives them the ability to work as a digital camera. Often (though not always) the camera is also able to shoot video.
The most important characteristics of a camera are the resolution (measured in megapixels), lens focus type (either fixed or automatic) and the presence of a flash. The flash could be either LED (single or even double) or xenon.
The number of megapixels is not always a good measurement of the quality of the photos, but if you plan to print pictures, you would generally get higher quality ones out of higher megapixel cameras.
Auto focus lens are not a guarantee of better image quality, but fixed focus cameras are usually inferior. Most importantly, only auto focus cameras can allow shooting of really close objects – i.e. macro shooting.
Some phones offer optical zoom but those are rare. Most use digital zoom, which degrades the quality of the photo.
Cameras that can work in “video mode” are characterized by the maximum resolution and framerate (frames per second or fps) of the recorded video.
Capacitive touch sensors are used either as buttons or on touchscreens. They work by sensing the electrical properties of the human body instead of pressure and generally they don’t work with a stylus so they don’t allow handwriting recognition. However, capacitive touchscreens feel more sensitive than their resistive counterparts.
Capacitive touch screens are also considered more durable than resistive touch screens.
In some countries, it is prohibited to use a mobile phone while driving so special accessories are sold which let you make a call without holding the phone in your hand.
Such accessories are sold as kits that may include a holder for the phone, a battery charger, connections to an external speaker and microphone for better audio quality, an external antenna for better reception and a junction box with data port for optional fax/modem connections.
Carriers (sometimes service providers, operators) are the companies that sell the use of a wireless network. Usually they own the network though some (called MVNO) do not.
The network consists of base stations (cell towers) and the infrastructure linking them.
The service allows the user to access the network and they are billed by the minute (for calls) or by kilobytes (for data transfers). Such services are sold as packages known as “calling plans”.
CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Access)
CDMA is a digital technology for transmitting data. It is a general technology utilized through various standards.
CDMA has no limit on capacity but the base station will only connect users upon determining that the call quality would fall bellow a predetermined limit.
The term is often used to refer to one specific family of technologies – IS-95 (often referred to cdmaOne) and CDMA2000. Networks using this technology operate in the 800 and 1900 MHz frequency bands and are primarily used in the Americas and Asia.
A 3G wireless technology, evolved from cdmaOne. Improvements over the old standard include faster data rates, always-on data service, and improved voice network capacity.
There are three types of CMDA2000:
1xRTT doubles the capacity of cdmaOne and supports up to 144 kbps data speeds
1xEV-DO supports data rates up to 2.4 Mbps but needs to be deployed in a separate spectrum. This standard doesn’t support voice calls and needs to be combined with 1xRTT.
1xEV-DV supports data rates of around 3-5 Mbps and voice capabilities
Wireless networks are comprised of many overlapping cells (the area covered by a base station).
“Cell” can also refer to one or more connected base stations.
Mobile phones run on so-called embedded chipsets, which are designed to perform one or a few dedicated functions, often with real-time computing constraints. They are embedded as part of the complete device including hardware and mechanical parts.
The ever popular smartphones are equipped with more advanced embedded chipsets that can do many different tasks depending on their programming.
Thus their CPU (Central Processing Unit) performance is vital for the daily user experience and people tend to use the clock rate of the main CPU that’s in the heart of the chipset to compare the performance of competing end products.
As we already pointed out, the clock rate of a processor is only useful for providing performance comparisons between computer chips in the same processor family and generation.
Also, as mobile gaming is increasingly gaining popularity, users have become more aware of the various types of GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) chips that come as part of the mobile chipsets and sometimes even consider their performance when making buying decisions.
cHTML (Compact HyperText Markup Language)
cHTML is a simplified version of HTML with features such as the accesskey attribute for numpad-optimized web navigation, phone number shortcuts for links, and emoji pictorial characters.
cHTML is used exclusively for iMode, a service that is offered only in Japan and several European countries.
Most phones use the older WML format or the newer XHTML Mobile Profile.
CIF (Common Intermediate Format)
A standard resolution – 352 x 288 pixels – used by some digital cameras for either images or video.
Variations include QCIF (Quarter CIF) – 176 x 144 pixels – and SQCIF (Sub Quarter CIF) – 128 x 96.
The phone consists of two halves connected with a hinge in the middle. The hinge allows the phone to be folded close (much like a sea clamshell, hence the name). When the phone is closed, the keyboard is protected from accidental key presses.
The top half usually hosts a small external display and a large internal main display, while the bottom half incorporates the keyboard.
The camera (if present) can be on either half.
CMOS (Complementary metal-oxidesemiconductor)
CMOS is one of two major types of image sensor technologies used in digital cameras (the other being CCD). The image sensor of a digital camera serves as a digital substitute for film in ordinary cameras.
The camera sensor captures light, converts it to electric charge and processes it into electronic signals.
Generally, CMOS sensors are smaller, cheaper and more energy efficient and currently deliver the same image quality as CCD sensors.
This refers to the number of different colors a display is able to produce. A higher number results in a broader range of distinct colors. It is commonly accepted that the human eye can discern up to 10 million colors.
Typically, an SMS is 160 characters in length (using Latin characters) but a concatenated SMS has a longer maximum length. The message is composed as a single message and the phone splits it into several shorter messages that are reassembled by the receiving phone. Maximum length varies between 300 and 1,000 characters depending on the device.
Corning Gorillla Glass
Gorilla Glass is the registered trademark for a toughened glass, manufactured by U.S. glassmaker Corning, Inc.
It became highly popular as a cover glass for portable electronic devices such as high-end mobile phones.
The manufacturer claims that Gorilla Glass offers high scratch resistance and incredible hardness, which allows the use of thinner glass panels on devices, without the inherent fragility, which traditionally comes with thinner thickness.
The invention for manufacturing this sort of protective glass had supposedly been gathering dust for quite some years in Corning’s warehouse, until Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO back then, commissioned Corning to develop a new scratch proof display cover glass for the first iPhone.
The rise of touchscreen phones popularity since then has turned the manufacturing of Gorilla Glass into a lucrative business niche for Corning.
In 2012, Corning introduced a second generation of the material, called “Gorilla Glass 2” and devices using it started shipping in the first half the same year. According to the manufacturer, the advantages of the second generation include even thinner construction, higher transparency to light and allows for even better touch sensitivity.
Gorilla Glass 3 was announced in 2013 and the popular Samsung Galaxy S4 (released in the first half of the year) is announced as the first phone to feature it.
The new generation is marketed as having Native Damage Resistance™. Marketing talk aside, the new glass reportedly provides enhanced scratch resistance, reduced scratch visibility, and better retained strength once a scratch occurs. According to the manufacturer, the Gorilla Glass 3 is stronger, and is 3x more scratch-resistant than Gorilla Glass 2. Plus some 40% less scratches are visible once they occur.
CPU (Central Processing Unit)
CPU (Central Processing Unit) – otherwise known as a processor – is an electronic circuit that can execute computer programs. Both the miniaturization and standardization of CPUs have increased their presence far beyond the limited application of dedicated computing machines. Modern microprocessors appear in everything from automobiles to mobile phones.
The clock rate is one of the main characteristics of the CPU when performance is concerned. Clock rate is the fundamental rate in cycles per second (measured in hertz, kilohertz, megahertz or gigahertz) for the frequency of the clock in any synchronous circuit. A single clock cycle (typically shorter than a nanosecond in modern non-embedded microprocessors) toggles between a logical zero and a logical one state.
With any particular CPU, replacing the crystal with another crystal that oscillates with twice the frequency will generally make the CPU run with twice the performance. It will also make the CPU produce roughly twice the amount of waste heat.
Engineers are working hard to push the boundaries of the current architectures and are constantly searching for new ways to design CPUs that tick a little quicker or use slightly less energy per clock. This produces new cooler CPUs that can run at higher clock rates.
Scientists also continue to search for new designs that allow CPUs to run at the same or at a lower clock rate as older CPUs, but which get more instructions completed per clock cycle.
The clock rate of a processor is only useful for providing comparisons between computer chips in the same processor family and generation.
Clock rates can be very misleading since the amount of work different computer chips can do in one cycle varies. Clock rates should not be used when comparing different computers or different processor families. Rather, some kind of software benchmarks should be used.
Smartphones are equipped with more advanced embedded chipsets that can do many different tasks depending on their programming.
The performance of the CPU that’s at the core of the chipset is vital for the daily user experience and the general computing performance of the smartphone. People tend to use the clock rate of the main CPU to compare the performance of competing end products. But as we already pointed out, the clock rate of a processor is only useful for providing performance comparisons between computer chips in the same processor family and generation. For all other purposes, it’s best to use software benchmarks for determining comparative performance.
A phenomenon by which a signal transmitted on one circuit or channel creates an undesired effect on another circuit. Generally rare in modern digital wireless phone systems but not entirely eliminated.
Stereo crosstalk for example is one of the parameters of audio quality we test when reviewing mobile phones. The crosstalk measurement is made to determine the amount of signal leaking across from one channel to another or – in purely non-technical terms – it measures how good the stereo is.
CSTN (Color Super Twisted Nematic)
STN is a type of LCD display technology. STN is black and white while CSTN is the color version. (C)STN displays are used on lower end devices.
Typically an STN display has worse image quality and response times than a TFT LCD, but is cheaper and more energy efficient.
CTIA is the International Association for the Wireless Telecommunication Industry, an international organization dedicated to expanding the wireless frontier.
It’s basically an international industry trade group representing all wireless communication sectors.
Phones come preloaded with a selection of ringtones, yet some phones also allow the user to load a new ringtone. This could be done by writing the notes in a built-in composer, or by downloading the ringtone via a special SMS/MMS or from the internet.
An easy way to transfer custom ringtones to your mobile phone is via a USB data cable, Bluetooth or a memory card reader.
When you want to use custom ringtones, you should check the phone supported file formats beforehand.
CyanogenMod (pronounced sigh-AN-oh-jen-mod), is a customized, aftermarket firmware distribution for several Android devices. Based on the Android Open Source Project, CyanogenMod is designed to increase performance and reliability over Android-based ROMs released by vendors and carriers such as Google, T-Mobile, HTC, etc. CyanogenMod also offers a variety of features & enhancements that are not currently found in these versions of Android.
For a list of devices officially supported by CyanogenMod, check out the official devices page.
Right now, CyanogenMod consists of four parallel and active major versions: CyanogenMod 10 (Android 4.1), 10.1 (Android 4.2), 10.2 (Android 4.3) and 11 (Android 4.4). The variants of the firmware are split into categories, such as: Stable, Release Candidate, M-series and Nightlies.
The Stable version, as suggested by the title, is the tried and tested variant of the firmware proven to be mostly bug free and suitable for daily use. The latest stable version is available for an assortment of the officially supported devices.
A Release Candidate (RC) build may not be the final version, but a variant that has no fatal flaws or bugs, on the stabilization stages to become the final product that is the Stable variant.
The M-series releases behave similar to the RCs, but are considered ‘stable’ for our users.
Lastly there are the Nightlies, which are as volatile as a firmware can get. These releases keep coming at an interval of a day or two and if you do end up trying one of these, do not be alarmed if your device goes cuckoo on you. These ROMs are largely untested, and as advised by CyanogenMod, not meant for use for an average user. These releases, are meant to test untested waters that may or may not break your phone.
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